March 15, 2014

Act with agency, Ctd Jean Jaurès and Charles Péguy


The 100-year anniversary of World War One is also a time to remember the 1914 passing of two heroic Frenchmen - Jean Jaurès (above left) and Charles Péguy (above right). Two men remembered for their commitment to truth, justice and free expression in their fight against the virus of anti-Semitism. This they did in their defence of Captain Alfred Dreyfus (the the falsely imprisoned Jew) and in defiance of public opinion, military officials and an anti-semitism that was virulently rampant in France.

At stake were the principles of the French Revolution and the fundamental rights of man, as laid out in the Declaration of the Rights of Man of August 1789. Parallels can be drawn with Northern Ireland. We are torn by sectarianism and at stake in Northern Ireland is progress.
Theirs was a campaign of moral authority and courage. Ours need be that too. It's yet to happen. Much to with the climate of self-censorship with has created a silenced majority. We need men and women who believe in free expression, honest opinion and holding people to account, to stand up and defend the principles of tolerance, pluralism and the enlightenment and to push progress.

Jaurès was influenced by Emile Zola’s, 'J’Accuse,' published in L’Aurore on January 13, 1898. That article directly accused the French military leaders of the maladministration of justice and of anti-Semitism. Upon these accusations Emile Zola was tried and convicted for criminal libel in February 1898.

Jean Jaurès at 54 was assassinated on July 31, 1914 by a 29-year old nationalist. Jaurès has campaigned for a rapprochement between France and Germany.
Charles Péguy was killed a few weeks later .

Where Jaurès was an internationalist anti-militarist trying to prevent war, Péguy was a nationalist and patriotic. He was killed by a bullet in his head on the first day of the first battle of the Marne on September 5, 1914. The two differed on the issue of a French military response to Germany, but were unified in their defense of Dreyfus and the cause of justice.

More on this on the American Thinker here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...